Ohio Gun Collector's Association 75th Anniversary: A celebration of freedom
by Larry S. Moore
The Ohio Gun Collectors Association (OGCA) is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. First a word about the OGCA meetings and show is appropriate. The OGCA shows are not open to the general public. You must be a member or a visitor sponsored by a member in order to attend the show. The meetings and shows have been held at the Roberts Center outside Wilmington, Ohio for many years. There is also a special event now at the IX Center in Cleveland.
The annual display show includes museum quality antique, military, sporting and educational displays. OGCA presents awards to the display competitors recognizing the outstanding displays in several categories. The member attendees get a unique opportunity to view the results of a lifetime of firearms and historical collections.
The highlight was the annual membership and award banquet held this year at the Manor House in Mason. Cecil Parker, OGCA President, served as the master of ceremony for the evening. Parker introduced the current State of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, noting that Mandel is running against current Senator Sherrod Brown.
Mandel briefly noted, "I am very happy to be here tonight with people who value freedom and care so much about our rights and Constitution. I was inspired by my Grandfather to join the Marine Corps. I reflect about that bond and the oath to defend the Constitution. When I think about my oath to defend the Constitution, I think about the Second Amendment. I see something that is not gray but black and white. I believe very strongly that individual citizens should have the right to protect their families, homes and businesses. They should have the right to hunt and use firearms however they wish within the bounds of the law. I'm proud of what OGCA and everyone in this room does to protect freedom and the Second Amendment."
Parker next introduced the keynote speaker for the evening Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of The National Rifle Association. Parker noted that we all know him as "the face, voice and heart of the NRA".
"It's an honor to be here for the 75th anniversary of the OGCA. Thanks to all the members of the OGCA and for everything you have done for so many years, day in and day out, for our freedom. Also with the folks from Buckeye Firearms. Everyone here hasw done such great work. Everything the NRA does is through each person across this great country who are determined not to lose the great freedoms we have. That's the success of the NRA day in and day out. When I look at the NRA it's about our membership and giving voice to our members. The NRA is about freedom, patriotism and core American values. We feel a bond to the fabric of America that keeps our country free. Our American culture is uniquely and deeply embedded in the Second Amendment individual right to own a gun. The Second Amendment is a metaphor for freedom. You are not free if you can't defend yourself", LaPierre began.
He continued, "The 75th Anniversary is the diamond anniversary. That's the hardest stone and the Second Amendment is the hardest stone for freedom in the USA. We get up every day freer than anyone else on the face of this planet. No one has duplicated the USA because of the freedoms we have in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I can't tell you how many times I heard Charlton Heston say that the doorway to freedom is framed by the muskets that first defended it at that Concord Bridge. Throughout history the right of self-defense has been recognized by legal and religious scholars. The freedom of self-defense was written into our Constitution. The only people who don't get it are those liberals and elite who don't face what the average citizen faces every day. We have phenomenal success removing many restrictions of our Second Amendment freedoms. Today forty-one states have shall issue concealed carry laws; court cases have reaffirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right; and the NRA Eddie Eagle program has reached over 23 million American young people making them safer.
Regarding the shooting sports LaPierre noted, "Before there was baseball or football in this country there were the shooting sports. The shooting sports teaches safety, discipline and responsibility. More people participate in the shooting sports than golf, tennis and skiing. It's the great American pastime. We are a $32 billion industry with over 100 million gun owners and 15 million hunters. We are the ones who are the backbone of conservation dollars in this country."
LaPierre boiled down the Second Amendment fight saying, "The battle over our Second Amendment rights is about the non-elite and non-celebrity citizen. It's about everyday Americans having freedoms and protection under the Constitution. Americans are buying guns in record numbers. Women are buying guns. Americans are embracing this freedom because they know if everything else goes wrong, it will be up to us to get our family and protect them with guns. We all need to support freedom. We need to get out and make a difference."
Regarding the upcoming elections, LaPierre urged everyone to get involved, "This is an all in election year. All our rights and freedoms, indeed our way of life, are on the line. It means each one of us must be involved. No one can sit this one out. We are patriots. We are Americans. We must be all in for freedom!"
It was a wonderful evening to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the OGCA. It was the vision of the thirty-three founding members who met at the home of Miller C. Bedford to create the OGCA. The OGCA has grown to be the largest firearms and memorabilia collectors organization in the world! The members of the OGCA embody the true spirit of patriotism combined with an unique appreciation of firearms and history. Congratulations on a great display show and banquet. For more information on the OGCA go to www.ogca.com/.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.